Hearing Impairment Overview, Definition and Causes



Have you ever heard a ringing or buzzing sound in your ears after going to a party, concert, or other really loud event?

This condition is called tinnitus (pronounced: tih-nih-tus), and it usually lasts until your ears gradually readjust to normal sound levels. Experiencing tinnitus and having to yell to be heard are both signs that the environment you’re in is too loud. Going to concerts or blasting your stereo once in a while is common. But over time, too much exposure to loud noise can lead to a condition known as noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Personal music players are among the chief culprits of NIHL among teens. Video games, television sets, movie theaters, traffic, and some machines and appliances can also make the environment too noisy for the average person. In fact, many experts believe that people are losing their hearing at much younger ages than they did just 30 years ago. In addition to noise-induced hearing loss, other types of hearing impairment can affect people during their teen years. Unlike hearing loss that’s caused by noise, though, these types of hearing loss are not preventable. Some people are born with hearing impairment — and kids and teens can lose their hearing for many reasons. If you don’t know anyone who is deaf or hearing impaired, chances are you will someday.